2007-05-01 14:00:00

Ethnic Russians quit Estonian police to stay away from violence - public figure

Tallinn, May 1, Interfax - Ethnic Russians want to resign from the Estonian police so as not to participate in illegal actions to stop the unrest, secretary of the Estonian Anti-Fascist Committee Andrey Zarenkov told Interfax.

"Some 350 police officers are planning to or have submitted their resignations after they were forced to beat protesters against the dismantling of the monument to Soviet soldiers," he said.

"The officers say they don't want to beat teenagers or innocent people," he said adding that for understandable reasons he could not disclose his sources.

Zarenkov said that on Saturday the Anti-Fascist Committee opened a hotline for reporting on missing relatives and acts of arbitrariness by the authorities.

"The hotline is very busy. Three people are answering the calls. Some of the women activists asked to be relieved of the work because they cannot stand listening to the stories of the victims of police brutality," he said.

He said that as detention centers are overcrowded many of the detainees were taken to a cargo terminal in Tallinn seaport. "People were forced to squat for hours or lie on the concrete floor with their hands tied behind their backs. The police used plastic handcuffs which caused great pain," he said.

"The security men selectively beat the detainees including women and teenagers. We have an account that they beat a 12-year-old girl lying on the floor for attempting to stand up. We have pictures of a toilet which is stained with the blood of the injured detainees," Zarenkov said.

However, the police have not confirmed the information of the Anti-Fascist Committee. Spokesman for the northern police prefecture told Interfax on Sunday that the rumors of the resignation of police officers are untrue.